Newhall Farm Ice Cider

Review of Newhall Farm Ice Cider, made by Eden Ice Cider in West Charleston Vermont from Newhall Farm apples from Reading Vermont.  This is Newhall Farm’s only cider and my first time trying it.  However, my previous Eden Ice Cider reviews can be found here.  Interesting note – ice ciders can be corked similar to grape wine as they are still (non carbonated).

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>>This is a review of a sample bottle provided to Cider Says by Newhall Farm.  Although I will take care to treat it the same as any other review, there is always the potential for bias as I received it for free.  The only consideration I knowingly made was pushing this up in my cider review cue.  I love free stuff, especially cider!  Want your cider or cider-related product reviewed here?  Contact me.<<

Cider:  Ice Cider
Cidery:  Newhall Farm (by Eden Ice Cider)
Cidery Location:  apples from Reading VT, made in West Charleston VT
ABV:  12%
Residual Sugar:  13 or 14%
Acidity:  1.8%
How Supplied:  187ml bottle
Style:  American craft ice cider made from organic apples

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Availability:  CT, ME, NH, NY, and VT, plus they offer sales direct to consumer and through Fine Wine Cellars.  100 cases made.

Cider Description:  Defined as the American grape, apple steps up to the 21st century with ice cider bursting onto the American drink scene.

Serve NEWHALL FARM ICE CIDER as a sophisticated alternative to dessert, as an exceptional complement to cheese, spicy foods, charcuterie, or enjoy with cream desserts, good old-fashioned apple pie with ice cream, and as a wedding cake wine extraordinaire.

100% Newhall Farm estate grown apples are concentrated by using natural Northern Vermont winter temperatures. No sugar, coloring, alcohol, or flavorings are added.

Our selective blend of organic heirloom, dessert and wild apples ripples with a fresh crispness and hint of late harvest honey, rounding out spice and acidity to a lingering finish of Vermont’s autumn bounty….Liberty, Empire, Crispin, Honeycrisp, Cortland, mix of heirloom and wild apples.

Cidery Description:  Newhall Farm is committed to excellence and produces only the highest quality, natural products while using skilled animal husbandry and fostering responsible stewardship of the land. No growth hormones or fed antibiotics are ever used, and only organic sprays are used in our orchards.  Our Vermont heritage products include: ice cider, maple syrup, raw honey, grass fed beef, Berkshire pork, pastured lamb.

Price:  n/a, but retails for $20+ for 187ml or $30+ for 375ml
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  They sent me an e-mail asking if I’d like a sample bottle.  I’d actually heard of them, such as through this post from Cider Culture on Cideries in Winter, and this article from Seven Days VT on Vermont ice ciders, and was excited to try an ice cider which isn’t available in WA.

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First Impression:  Deep caramel amber.  Still (no carbonation).  Smells of sweet rich ripe apples, caramel, caramelized sugar, and brown sugar.

Tasting Notes:  Sweet to very sweet.  Low to moderate acidity & tartness.  Hints of tannins.  No bitterness or sourness.  Notes of caramel, caramelized sugar, brown sugar, honey, vanilla, and hints of spice.  Full bodied.  Full flavored.  Long lingering warm boozy finish.  Very apple forward.  Low sessionability.

My Opinion:  I’m a fan!  That said, I’ve only tried 3 ice ciders previously, all from Eden, and liked them all, so I don’t have too much to compare to.  Like Eden’s ice ciders, I liked this best very cold.  Its quite sweet, but in a refined and well-crafted way, and is traditionally served in a small quantity (such as after dinner), so the sweetness wasn’t overwhelming.  Although this is a (very cute) tiny bottle with only about 6 ounces, it lasted a few pours as the serving size is much smaller than traditional ciders.

Most Similar to:  Eden Ice Cider Heirloom Blend.  I found them overall very similar, down to the profile, flavor notes, body, etc.  They mainly varied in the finish, where I found Newhall Farm to be longer, more warming / boozy (it is 2% higher in ABV), and slightly less balanced.  It would be really interesting to taste them side by side.

Closing Notes:   Very enjoyable.  However, we all have our favorites, and so far, Eden Ice Cider Northern Spy (barrel aged) is mine when it comes to ice cider.  I look forward to trying more ice ciders.  I have a bottle of Frost from Tieton Ciderworks (Yakima WA) in the cabinet (next to the 2 Towns & Finnriver Pommeau, Moonlight Meadery Last Apple cyser, and lots of cider).

Have you tried any ice cider?

Big B’s Pear Supply

Review of Big B’s Pear Supply cider, made in Hotchkiss CO, from fermented pear & apple juices, part of their Farmhouse Cellar series.

>This is a review of a sample bottle provided to Cider Says by Big B’s.  Although I will take care to treat it the same as any other review, there is always the potential for bias as I received it for free.  The only consideration I knowingly made was pushing this up in my cider review cue.  I love free stuff, especially cider!  Want your cider or cider-related product reviewed here?  Contact me.<<

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Cider:  Pear Supply
Cidery:  Big B’s
Cidery Location:  Hotchkiss CO
ABV:  6.2%
How Supplied:  750ml bottle
Style:  Organic American Farmstead-Style Apple-Pear Cider

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Availability:  Only in CO, year round, although they take phone orders to ship to customers when their state allows it.

Cider Description:  Pear Supply artisanal farm house hard cider is a blend of local organic pears and apples, fermented together and bottle conditioned.   Our recipe uses time honored cider making traditions and is cellar aged to perfection.   Pear Supply is semi sweet, the apple and pear combination are well rounded and bursting with ripe pear notes and crisp apple undertones.

Made from local organic Winesap apples and Bartlett pears (50-50).  Only apples, pears, and yeast, without other ingredients (such as Sulfites).

Cidery Description:  Big B’s Hard Ciders – Local, Organic, Delicious.  Big B’s proudly handcrafts American Farmstead Hard Ciders in small batches using only organic apples, hand picked at the peak of ripeness.  Our orchard and tasting room is located in the North Fork Valley on the Western Slope of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains.

Big B’s has an organic farm market and tasting room in Hotchkiss CO for their juices and hard cider (first sold in 2011), which re-opens for the season in May 2016.  Pear Supply won silver at GLINTCAP 2015, and is in the running for a Good Food award for 2016 (along with Grizzly Brand & Orchard Original).  Here is an article on Big B’s.

Price:  n/a ($15.99 retail price)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Online.  I read about Big B’s, such as from a blog entry from Cider Sage, and have heard only great things.

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First Impression:  Lemonade light yellow hue.  Moderate carbonation.  Smells like pears, citrus, sourness, funk, and tartness.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry to semi-sweet.  Mild to moderate sourness and tartness.  Moderate acidity.  Hint of funk.  Medium bodied.  Fizzy mouthfeel.  Notes of citrus and pear.  I couldn’t really pick up the apple though.  Moderate length finish.

My Opinion:  Definitely sour, which isn’t to my liking, but I know a lot of other folks enjoy it.  My husband however thought it was really tasty.  Its all a matter of preference.

Most Similar to:  Sour ciders.  This reminded me some of Millstone Cobbler, which also had a lot of sour citrus flavor, although this cider wasn’t quite as sour, sweeter, and had pear not peach notes.

Closing Notes:   I wasn’t expecting a sour cider, so this surprised me.  I think fans who don’t mind a bit of sour would really enjoy this one though, especially in Spring & Summer.

Have you tried Big B’s cider?  What did you think?

Boonville Bite Hard – Updated Review

Review of Bite Hard from the Boonville Cider House.  I actually reviewed this cider about a month ago (see here), but Roger Scommegna, founder of Boonville Cider House, contacted me on Facebook and asked me to give it another try.  He sent me a lovely sample box with not one but three bottles of Bite Hard, a t-shirt, and a fact sheet.  This time around the cider is bottled not canned, so I’m curious to see if I spot any differences.

He said: “Same variety, but I think I need to explain why it is terrific cider. We use apples and yeast, nothing else. Most cider is made from concentrate and flavoring. It’s truly just a soda. Cider is wine, and you would never drink a wine made from concentrate, and it’s illegal to add flavors to wine, so we make our cider like wine. We ferment dry with two different champagne yeasts, then finish it like Sauvignon Blanc. Our cider is delicate and clean. It’s actually harder to make it that way. I’ll send you a bomber and try it out of a wine glass. Thanks!”

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This is a review of a sample bottle provided to Cider Says by the Boonville Cider House.  Although I will take care to treat it the same as any other review, there is always the potential for bias as I received this for free.  The only consideration I knowingly made was pushing this up in my cider review cue.  I love free stuff, especially cider!  Want your cider or cider-related product reviewed here?  Contact me.

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Cider:  Bite Hard
Cidery:  Boonville Cider House
Cidery Location:  Boonville CA
ABV:  6.9%
How Supplied:  22oz glass bottle

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Availability:  CA, AZ, WA, MN, WI, IL, MI, NY, IN, CO, and MO

Cider Description:  Bite Hard Apple Cider is a crisp, semi dry cider, slow fermented from heirloom apples in an English tradition. Made from tannic and full bodied fruit, this cider carries its distinctive BITE with a clean and unique apple finish and citrus notes. We take the time to seek out and preserve the best that Autumn has to offer. 

Cidery Description:  MAKING CIDER & TAKING NAMES SINCE 2010!  With an orchard first mentality, Boonville Cider House uses its favorite varieties of apples to put the finest cider into every can, bottle, and keg. Made with gumption, and drank with gusto, the Boonville Cider House is less a place and more a state of mind. So crack a can and taste Autumn in Boonville, taste us wassailing beneath the stars, and taste the hard work and great times that go into every gallon.

Additional Information from Boonville:  We started in a small town in Northern California called Boonville. Home to Anderson Valley Brewing Co, Roederer Estates and ever growing list of fantastic wineries…We use a blend of Pippins and Russets mostly – hand picked, no windfalls. The goal has been to make a simple and pure cider. Pick apples, squeeze into juice, add yeast, ferment dry, enjoy heartily. We believe the best ciders have a short list of ingredients. 

They also shared this blog post written by the founder & cider maker (titled Ruminations on Our Ethics of Fermentation).

Price:  n/a
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  n/a

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First Impression:  Straw yellow, no haze.  Little carbonation with medium sized bubbles.  Light dry apple scent.

Opinion:  Dry to semi-dry.  High acidity.  Moderate tartness.  Light astringency.  No bitterness, sourness, or funk.  Low carbonation.  Light bodied.  Clean and refreshing taste.  Moderate length finish with acidity & tartness.  I pick up citrus, green apple, and tropical notes.  I definitely recognize it was made using champagne yeast.  I’m surprised how different this tastes than I remember (and noted before).  I didn’t pick up any bitterness this time, the tartness level seems higher, and it even seems a touch sweeter.  I suspect it may be a different batch.  Craft cider can vary significantly batch to batch.  I wonder if bottle vs. can makes a difference too.  Also, I’ve always noticed that free beverages/food taste better!

Most Similar to:  Some other drier flagship ciders.  This actually reminds me of Attila Scourge of God that I had recently (review here).

Closing Notes:   I was more impressed this time around.  I liked the acidity level and tartness, that it lacked bitterness, and that it isn’t very sweet.  However, this still isn’t my favorite type of cider…I usually like bolder flavors and some richness in a cider (such as found with English, French, barrel aged, etc, ciders).  I think bottles instead of cans is a good route for them, as they seem to be going a bit more higher end, comparing to wine, drier, etc.  However, a lot of craft ciders are going the can route, and it seems to be popular.  I look forward to enjoying the other two bottles!

Have you tried Boonville Bite Hard?  What did you think?